وَ مَاۤ اَنۡفَقۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفَقَۃٍ اَوۡ نَذَرۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّذۡرٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَعۡلَمُہٗ ؕ وَ مَا لِلظّٰلِمِیۡنَ مِنۡ اَنۡصَارٍ ﴿۲۷۱﴾
وَمَآ أَنفَقۡتُم مِّن نَّفَقَةٍ أَوۡ نَذَرۡتُم مِّن نَّذۡرٖ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُهُۥۗ وَمَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ مِنۡ أَنصَارٍ
b. 22:30; 76:8. (close)
341. There is a tradition to the effect that the Holy Prophet did not approve of making conditional vows for the performance of non-obligatory acts of goodness; but if a man does so, fulfilment of the vow becomes obligatory. (close)
a. 22:30; 76:8. (close)
277. Important Words:
نذرتم (you vow) is derived from نذر i.e. he made a vow, thereby binding himself to do an act the doing of which is not obligatory on him; he made a vow dedicating his child for the service of religion. نذر is a vow by which a man binds himself to do an act not obligatory on him, sometimes conditional on the acquisition of an object or the fulfilment of a desire, in which case it amounts to a conditional promise. The word also signifies a votive offering (Lane & Aqrab).
There is a tradition to the effect that the Holy Prophet did not approve of making conditional vows for the performance of non-obligatory acts of goodness; but if a man does so, fulfilment of the vow becomes obligatory.
The words Allah surely knows it mean that if a man spends in the cause of God, He will appreciate it and follow it with good results.
But as for those who do not spend or who break their vows, the punishment of God will visit such wrongdoers and no friend or sympathizer will be of any help to them. Similarly, in the life to come, neither will God help such men nor will the angels or the Prophets or other holy men help them with their intercession. (close)
اِنۡ تُبۡدُوا الصَّدَقٰتِ فَنِعِمَّا ہِیَ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تُخۡفُوۡہَا وَ تُؤۡتُوۡہَا الۡفُقَرَآءَ فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ؕ وَ یُکَفِّرُ عَنۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ سَیِّاٰتِکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ خَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۷۲﴾
إِن تُبۡدُواْ ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَۖ وَإِن تُخۡفُوهَا وَتُؤۡتُوهَا ٱلۡفُقَرَآءَ فَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡۚ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّـَٔاتِكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرٞ
c. 9:60, 103, 104. (close)
342. Islam has most wisely recommended both forms of giving alms, open and secret. By giving alms openly a man sets a good example to others which they may imitate. Secret almsgiving in some cases is better, because then one refrains from exposing the poverty of his less fortunate brethren, and there is also little occasion for feeling proud in giving secretly. (close)
a. 4:32, 8:30; 29:8; 64:10; 66:9. (close)
343. The particle min either may have been used for the sake of emphasis, or in the sense of "many" or "some." (close)
b. 9:60, 103, 104. (close)
c. 4:32; 8:30; 29:8; 64:10; 66:9. (close)
278. Important Words:
یکفر (will remove) is derived from کفر (kaffara) which again is derived from کفر (kafara) for which see 2:7. They say کفر عنه سیئته i.e. (1) He (God) covered or removed, or did away with his sin; (2) He expiated his sin; (3) He effaced or obliterated his sin (Lane).
Islam has most wisely recommended both forms of giving alms, i.e. open and secret. By giving alms openly, a man sets a good example to others and many begin to imitate him. Secret alms-giving is in many cases better, because in this way one refrains from exposing the poverty of his brethren and there is also little occasion for pride in secret giving. It should be noted that the word خیر (better) occurring in the verse is qualified by the words "for You", while the word نعما (well and good) is not so qualified, which points to the fact that whereas secret giving to the poor is better for the giver, open giving may often be conducive to more good for the Community in general.
Again, the particle من (many) in the clause, "many of your sins" may, according to Arabic idiom, either be redundant and used merely for the sake of emphasis, or used in the sense of "many" or "some"; or it denotes ابتداءالغایة i.e. the commencement of the limit. Following these different senses and also keeping in view the different meanings of the word یکفر (will remove), the clause ویکفر عنکم من سیآتکم may be rendered in four different ways: (1) He (God) will certainly remove from you your sins. (2) He will remove from you many or some of your sins. (3) He will expiate many or some of your sins for you. (4) He will certainly obliterate, or efface from you, your sins.
In the first and the fourth rendering, the particle من has been treated as redundant, used for the sake of emphasis only, and therefore it has been omitted in the translation and the word "certainly" has been added. But if we take the word من in the sense of "many" or "some", the meaning of the sentence will be as given in the second and the third rendering.
In the case of the second rendering, the idea is that if we practise charity, those of our sins which are committed against the rights of God will be pardoned, but not those which are committed against the rights of men for which other acts of virtue have been recommended. In the case of the third rendering, the idea is that on the basis of charity practised in accordance with the injunctions of the Quran, God will so arrange that sins committed by the giver of charity, against the rights of men, will be pardoned by the very men who are sinned against.
But as it is possible that even after a man has been pardoned, his sins may continue to rankle in his own mind, so God has promised to show a further favour to those who practise charity according to the teachings of Islam. This promise is implied in the word یکفر (efface and obliterate) which is intended to hint that God will make them forget their sins and thus obliterate and efface from their minds all traces of the sins committed by them. This idea has been expressed in the last rendering. Thus a single small sentence has been so worded as to cover all the possible forms of forgiveness, from its lowest phase to its highest manifestation. (close)
لَیۡسَ عَلَیۡکَ ہُدٰٮہُمۡ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَلِاَنۡفُسِکُمۡ ؕ وَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اِلَّا ابۡتِغَآءَ وَجۡہِ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ یُّوَفَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷۳﴾
۞لَّيۡسَ عَلَيۡكَ هُدَىٰهُمۡ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهۡدِي مَن يَشَآءُۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنۡ خَيۡرٖ فَلِأَنفُسِكُمۡۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ٱبۡتِغَآءَ وَجۡهِ ٱللَّهِۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنۡ خَيۡرٖ يُوَفَّ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُونَ
b. 28:57; 92:13. (close)
344. The use of the word Khair, which also means, anything and everything good (Lane), enlarges the scope of charity and does not confine it to the spending of money alone. The word includes the doing of good in any shape or form. (close)
345. These words constitute a great testimonial to the inherent goodness of the Companions of the Holy Prophet. It signifies that they needed no commandment to spend their wealth in Allah’s way. They were already doing it out of an instinctive desire to win His pleasure. (close)
c. 2:282; 4:174; 8:61; 39:11. (close)
a. 28:57; 92:13. (close)
b. 2:282; 4:174; 8:61; 39:11. (close)
As the verse relates to believers, the word ھدی occurring in it does not mean "showing the right path," for believers have already accepted guidance. It means "making them follow the right path". It is indeed God alone Who can enable believers to continue treading on the right path and protect them from the dangers of the way. See also 2:6.
The Quran has here selected the word خیر (wealth) instead of any other word meaning wealth or property; for this word not only signifies "property" but "good and well-earned property". Nay, it signifies even more, for it extends to "anything and everything good". The choice of this word thus greatly extends the scope of charity and does not confine it to the spending of wealth alone. The expression includes the doing of good to mankind in any form.
The clause while you spend not but to seek the favour of Allah, is a great tribute to the Companions of the Holy Prophet. They are not bidden to spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of God, but are told that such is already their practice. This is also a form of exhortation which is considered to be more effective than a direct command or prohibition. (close)
لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ الَّذِیۡنَ اُحۡصِرُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ لَا یَسۡتَطِیۡعُوۡنَ ضَرۡبًا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۫ یَحۡسَبُہُمُ الۡجَاہِلُ اَغۡنِیَآءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ ۚ تَعۡرِفُہُمۡ بِسِیۡمٰہُمۡ ۚ لَا یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَ النَّاسَ اِلۡحَافًا ؕ وَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ بِہٖ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۷۴﴾٪
لِلۡفُقَرَآءِ ٱلَّذِينَ أُحۡصِرُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ ضَرۡبٗا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَحۡسَبُهُمُ ٱلۡجَاهِلُ أَغۡنِيَآءَ مِنَ ٱلتَّعَفُّفِ تَعۡرِفُهُم بِسِيمَٰهُمۡ لَا يَسۡـَٔلُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ إِلۡحَافٗاۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنۡ خَيۡرٖ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ
346. Circumstances sometimes compel people to remain confined to a place where they are unable to earn their living. Such persons particularly deserve help from the better off members of the community. Two kinds of people particularly fall under this category; (a) Those who voluntarily remain attached to a Man of God, never quitting his company in order to benefit spiritually from it. (b) Those, who being confined to hostile environments, are deprived of necessities of life. (close)
a. 48:30. (close)
347. Sima means, a distinguishing sign or mark, or general appearance serving as such (Aqrab). (close)
348. The verse incidentally praises those self-respecting persons who abstain from begging and implies the impropriety of begging, as the words, Ta‘affuf (abstaining from an improper or unlawful thing) and Ilhaf (with importunity) indicate. The Holy Prophet has condemned begging. (close)
348A. Khair means, wealth; abundant wealth; wealth honestly earned (Mufradat). (close)
349. There are two categories of charity—obligatory Zakat and supererogatory (Sadaqah). Zakat is collected by the State from every Muslim possessing a certain amount of money or property and is spent by the State on the poor, the needy, and on orphans, widows and wayfarers, etc.; the recipients not knowing the real source of charity are beholden to no individual. Zakat is a State cheque and not charity. Sadaqah is voluntary and is given to individuals out of a desire to help them. It engenders feelings of sympathy among the well-to-do towards their poor brethren and feelings of gratefulness among the poor for their benefactors. It also serves to distinguish sincere believers from the insincere. (close)
a. 48:30. (close)
280. Important Words:
ضرباً (move) is from ضرب. They say ضرب الشیء i.e. the thing moved. ضربه means, he struck or beat him with a sword or a stick, etc. ضرب فی الارض means, he set out on a journey through the country or he journeyed through it (Aqrab).
تعفف (abstaining) is derived from عف i.e. he abstained from doing what is unlawful or improper. تعفف in verb form also gives the same meaning with greater effort. عفة means, abstaining from the gratification of low desires. So تعفف means, abstaining from what is improper or unlawful (Aqrab).
سیما (appearance) is derived from سوم which is again derived from سام. They say سوم الفرس i.e. he branded the horse with some distinguishing mark or sign. سیما or سیمة or سومة means, a distinguishing sign or mark, or general appearance serving as such (Aqrab).
إلحافاً (with importunity) is derived from لحف. They say لحفه i.e. he covered him with a sheet or a blanket, etc. الحفه also gives the same meaning. الحف السائل means, the beggar begged with importunity, as if sticking to one like a covering (Aqrab & Mufradat).
Circumstances sometimes compel people to remain confined in a place where they are unable to earn their living. Such men deserve help from the better-off members of the community. Two kinds of people come particularly under this verse: (1) Those who voluntarily stick to a place owing to the love of a holy man and never quit his company so that they may listen to whatever he says and observe whatever he does and then impart the knowledge thus acquired to others. A remarkable example of persons of this class was Abu Hurairah, who embraced Islam only three years before the death of the Holy Prophet, but thereafter clove to the Mosque at Medina so that he might remain in constant contact with his beloved Master. The result was that he reported to the world a much larger number of the sayings and acts of the Holy Prophet than those reported by even such Companions as had embraced Islam long before him. (2) Sometimes a Muslim becomes confined to a place owing to the hostility of disbelievers and, being surrounded by persecutors, he has often to suffer extreme hardships and remain without the necessities of life. Such men are also among the fittest objects of help.
People generally help those who beg for help, ignoring those who need help but, through modesty or shyness, do not ask for it. The Quran exhorts Muslims not to confine their charity to those who beg, but also to look for those who are really needy and whom a sense of honour or modesty prevents from begging.
The words, thou shalt know them by their appearance, contain a tribute to the Holy Prophet, who is here spoken of as being able to know such persons as are in want but refrain from disclosing their needs to others; and believers are exhorted to follow the example of the Holy Prophet in this respect. Abu Hurairah relates a personal incident which beautifully brings out this characteristic of the Prophet. He says that one day he was suffering from extreme hunger but, as Islam did not approve of begging, he could not ask anybody for food, and at the same time he would not leave the Prophet’s mosque for fear of losing his company. At that time Abu Bakr happened to pass by and, in order to draw his attention to his own famished condition, Abu Hurairah asked him to explain a verse of the Quran which dealt with charity. Abu Bakr, failing to understand his real object, explained to him the verse and passed on. Then came ‘Umar, and the hunger-stricken Abu Hurairah approached him also with the request to explain the verse. ‘Umar too failed to catch his purpose and, explaining to him the verse, went on his way. The Holy Prophet, who at that time happened to be within hearing inside his house, opened his window and with a bowl of milk in his hand, called Abu Hurairah and smilingly asked him whether he was hungry. And, receiving a reply in the affirmative, he further asked him to invite all the seven men who happened to be present in the mosque at that time. Before handing the cup of milk to Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet offered it to those seven men who were also hungry like Abu Hurairah. All the seven drank milk out of the bowl but, says Abu Hurairah, it remained as full as ever. Then the Prophet gave it to Abu Hurairah who drank his fill. When Abu Hurairah could drink no more, the Holy Prophet took the bowl and drank the remaining milk (Tirmidhi ch. on Zuhd).
The verse incidentally praises those who abstain from begging and hints at the impropriety of begging as the words تعفف (abstaining from an improper or unlawful thing) and الحافا (with importunity) clearly indicate. The Holy Prophet greatly disapproved of begging and there are diverse sayings of his to that effect. (close)
اَلَّذِیۡنَ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَہُمۡ بِالَّیۡلِ وَ النَّہَارِ سِرًّا وَّ عَلَانِیَۃً فَلَہُمۡ اَجۡرُہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷۵﴾ؔ
ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٰلَهُم بِٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ سِرّٗا وَعَلَانِيَةٗ فَلَهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ
b. 13:23; 14:32; 16:76; 35:30. (close)
a. 13:23; 14:32; 16:76; 35:30. (close)
281. Important Words:
عند (with) signifies, with, besides, at, near, by, or in the presence of, etc. It also implies possession, as one says عنده خیروفضلi.e. he possesses goodness and excellence. ملوك الارض عند الله تراب means, the kings of the earth are like dust compared with God. عند also signifies, in one’s mind, or in one’s opinion or estimation (Aqrab & Lane).
Islamic commandments have been so made as to meet the exigencies of all times and all seasons. For instance, lunar months which rotate all through the year, have been appointed for the observance of fasts and the performance of Pilgrimage, so that Muslims may keep fasts and perform Pilgrimage both in summer and winter, spring and autumn. Similarly, the five daily Prayers and the two supererogatory Prayers––تھجد (tahajjud) and ضحی (duha), which are said respectively in the latter part of the night and in the forenoon, are so timed that a Muslim practically performs Prayers at all hours of the day and night. Similarly, charity is to be performed during both day and night, so that this righteous act of man may cover every hour of his life.
Observe also the beautiful order of the words. The word "secretly" corresponds to night, and the word "openly" to day. Thus a Muslim has to expend his wealth in the cause of Allah not only in such a way and at such a time that others may be induced to follow his good example by noticing his charity, but also at such time and in such a way that even the recipient of his charity may not know the donor.
It may be noted here that alms are of two kinds: (1) obligatory زکوة (Zakah), and (2) supererogatory صدقه (Sadaqah). Zakah is collected by the state from every man of a prescribed measure of wealth and is then spent by the state on helping the poor and needy, orphans, widows and wayfarers, etc. In this case, the recipients do not know any particular donor and thus preserve their sense of self-respect. But as Zakah is collected by the state, people are apt to look upon it as a tax and not as charity. So Islam has instituted Sadaqah also which is voluntary and is given to individuals out of a desire to help the poor and needy. Thus Sadaqah engenders feelings of sympathy among the well-to-do towards their brethren and feelings of gratefulness among the poor for their benefactors. It also serves to distinguish sincere believers from the insincere. (close)
اَلَّذِیۡنَ یَاۡکُلُوۡنَ الرِّبٰوا لَا یَقُوۡمُوۡنَ اِلَّا کَمَا یَقُوۡمُ الَّذِیۡ یَتَخَبَّطُہُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ مِنَ الۡمَسِّ ؕ ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّمَا الۡبَیۡعُ مِثۡلُ الرِّبٰوا ۘ وَ اَحَلَّ اللّٰہُ الۡبَیۡعَ وَ حَرَّمَ الرِّبٰوا ؕ فَمَنۡ جَآءَہٗ مَوۡعِظَۃٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہٖ فَانۡتَہٰی فَلَہٗ مَا سَلَفَ ؕ وَ اَمۡرُہٗۤ اِلَی اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ عَادَ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ النَّارِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷۶﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ يَأۡكُلُونَ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْ لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ ٱلَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ مِنَ ٱلۡمَسِّۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡبَيۡعُ مِثۡلُ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْۗ وَأَحَلَّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡبَيۡعَ وَحَرَّمَ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْۚ فَمَن جَآءَهُۥ مَوۡعِظَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ فَٱنتَهَىٰ فَلَهُۥ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمۡرُهُۥٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَمَنۡ عَادَ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ
c. 3:131; 30:40. (close)
350. Riba literally meaning, an excess or addition, signifies an addition over and above the principal sum (Lane). It covers both usury and interest. According to the Hadith "every loan advanced to draw profits" comes under this definition. The connotation of Riba is not strictly identical with "interest," as commonly understood. But for lack of a better word "interest" may be used as a rough equivalent. In fact, any sum stipulated to be received or given over and above what one advances or receives as a loan is "interest," whether the dealing is with an individual or a bank or a society or a post office or any other organisation. "Interest" is not confined to money. It extends to any commodity which is given as a loan with the condition that it will be returned with an agreed excess. (close)
351. The words signify that just as a mad man is heedless of the consequences of his actions, so are the moneylenders heartlessly oblivious of the moral and economic injury they do to individuals, the society and even the world at large. Riba also causes a touch of insanity in the moneylender in the sense that his entire engrossment in profit-making renders him insensible to all good causes. Riba is prohibited in Islam because it tends to draw wealth into the hands of a small circle and thereby adversely affects its equitable distribution. It promotes idleness in the moneylenders and kills in them all incentive to help others and chokes all springs of sympathetic behaviour. The moneylender takes advantage of, and makes profit from, the need and distress of others. While on the one hand Riba causes the lender to exploit other people’s wants, it creates in the debtor a tendency to do things carelessly and in haste, incurring debt regardless of his capacity to pay back, thus doing irreparable moral injury to himself and the lender. Riba also leads to war. No prolonged war is possible without the help of loans, interest on which eventually leads to the economic ruin of both the victors and the vanquished. The system of easy loans makes it possible for governments to carry on destructive struggles as they can obtain sinews of war without having resort to direct taxation. Islam has prohibited all kinds of interest. In modern times business has become so inseparably linked with interest that it appears well-nigh impossible to avoid it altogether. But if a change of system and of surroundings and circumstances were brought about, business without interest could be carried on, as was the case in the days when Islam was in the ascendance. (close)
a. 3:131; 30:40. (close)
282. Important Words:
ربوا (interest) is derived from ربا. They say رباالمال i.e. the money or property increased and became augmented. ربواmeans, an excess and an addition; an addition over and above the principal sum; interest. The hadith defines ربوا as کل قرض جرمنفعة فھوربا i.e. every loan advanced to draw profit comes under the definition of interest (Saghir).
یتخبطه (has smitten) is derived from خبطه i.e. he struck or beat him violently; he trod him under his feet vehemently. خبط اللیل means, he walked about in the darkness of the night without finding the true way. تخبطه means, he struck or beat him violently. تخبطه الشیطان means, Satan struck him and afflicted him with hurt or injury; Satan prostrated him (Aqrab).
المس (insanity) is derived from مس. They say مسه i.e. he touched it; or he touched it with his hand. من المرض اوالکبر فلانا means, disease or old age touched him, i.e. came on him. مسه الشیطان بنصب وعذاب means, Satan brought pain and trouble on him. المسmeans, any pain or trouble, etc. that comes to a man by coming in contact with someone or something; it also signifies madness or insanity (Aqrab & Lane).
The prohibition against lending money on interest is preceded by a long exhortation to exercise charity. When a person becomes accustomed to spending his wealth in charity and alms, it becomes easier for him to lend money free of interest.
The Quran prohibits all kinds of interest. In modern times, however, business has become so inseparably mixed up with interest that it appears impossible to avoid interest altogether. But if a change of system as well as of surroundings and circumstances were brought about, business without interest would establish itself in the world as was the case in the days when Islam was in ascendancy.
The clause, those who devour interest do not rise except as rises one whom Satan has smitten with inanity, means that just as a madman does not see the consequences of his actions, similarly those who lend money at interest become careless of consequences. They keep in view only their own immediate interests and do not care, and in fact generally become incapable of caring, for the great harm which they do to society and the world at large. Interest also encourages a person or a government to incur debt beyond his or its capacity and in this way also blinds them to consequences. Another way in which interest causes a touch of insanity is to weaken the sense of goodness and beneficence in man by making him over-engrossed in money-making. Interest also leads to war. Money-lenders are always creating circumstances which may cause conflict between one nation and another so that war may break out and the belligerent nations may be compelled to borrow money from them. Interest also helps to prolong war by encouraging belligerent nations to borrow money beyond their capacity. Again, interest helps the accumulation of wealth in a few hands and thereby most injuriously affects the distribution of wealth and the balance of society. Yet another manifestation of madness caused by interest is that those who pay interest have their sense of dignity lowered and they contract the habit of carelessness and hastiness, thus acquiring a resemblance to one stricken by madness. See also 2:280 below.
The words, trade also is like interest, represent the pet argument of the supporters of interest. They say interest is nothing but a form of trade. Just as in trade one invests money with a view to increasing and multiplying it, so does one in lending money at interest. But deeper thinking would reveal that there is a world of difference between the two. While interest is attended by all the evil consequences briefly referred to above, trade is not.
The words, then will that which he received in the past be his, mean that if one accepts guidance from God and desists from charging interest in future, the past will be forgiven him and God will make good the loss he may thus suffer by other means.
It should be remembered that any sum stipulated to be received or given over and above what one advances or receives as a loan is interest, whether the dealing is with an individual or a bank or a society or a post office or any other organisation. Interest is not confined to money. It extends to any commodity which is given as a loan with the condition that it will be returned with an agreed excess.
Finally, it may be noted that in view of the peculiar conditions of the present times, when there is a vicious network of the interest system surrounding us and Islam is in a greatly weakened condition, the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has declared that if a person is forced to accept interest, he may do so and then spend the money thus received on (a) the propagation of Islam, and (b) paying off any interest that he may similarly be forced to pay. He should, however, scrupulously avoid spending such money on himself or his family or using it in any other way (Fatawa & Al-Fadl). (close)
یَمۡحَقُ اللّٰہُ الرِّبٰوا وَ یُرۡبِی الصَّدَقٰتِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ کَفَّارٍ اَثِیۡمٍ ﴿۲۷۷﴾
يَمۡحَقُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلرِّبَوٰاْ وَيُرۡبِي ٱلصَّدَقَٰتِۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ
352. This seems to be a prophecy that economics based on interest will eventually disappear or will be destroyed. (close)
a. 30:40. (close)
a. 30:40. (close)
283. Important Words:
یمحق (abolish) is derived from محق which means, he abolished or annulled or obliterated a thing; he annihilated it; he rendered a thing deficient and deprived it of its blessing of increase (Aqrab).
یربی (will cause to increase) is from the same root as ربا (interest) for which see 2:276.
The verse hints not only that Allah is abolishing interest and declaring it to be unlawful but that a time is coming when interest will he blotted out from the world and charity and alms will take its place. This promise was first fulfilled by the ascendancy of Islam in the East and the West, and now that the Promised Messiah, with whose advent the second and universal rise of Islam has been prophesied, has appeared, the promise will again be fulfilled by the re-ascendancy of Islam in the four corners of the world.
The words, Allah will abolish interest and will cause charity to increase, also contain the secret of world prosperity. If nations desire to prosper, they should stop the giving and taking of interest and practise charity instead. It is of interest to note that the word یربی (will cause to increase) is from the same root as ربا (interest). The clause thus beautifully hints that whereas the world looks upon the taking of interest as a means of increase, the real means thereof lies in charity. The words also mean that God, in His dealings with men, will deal kindly by those who spend their wealth in charity so that they will eventually prosper and thrive, while those who lend or borrow money at interest will be punished by God. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ لَہُمۡ اَجۡرُہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷۸﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَٰتِ وَأَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَوُاْ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ لَهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ
b. See 2:4. (close)
a. See 2:4. (close)
The verse points out that abstaining from interest and giving money in charity are highly righteous deeds and the righteous will have their reward with God. The verse also declares that in order to attain salvation (1) one must have true faith, and (2) do righteous deeds; and of the righteous deeds the verse singles out the two most important ones: firstly, the observance of Prayers, which pertains to the rights of God; and secondly, the giving of Zakah which pertains to the rights of men. The noble spirit underlying the commandment relating to Zakah runs counter to the evil spirit underlying the practice of giving and taking interest. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ ذَرُوۡا مَا بَقِیَ مِنَ الرِّبٰۤوا اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۲۷۹﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَذَرُواْ مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ ٱلرِّبَوٰٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ
The verse hints that the taking of interest is against God-fearingness. The Creator loves goodness and beneficence towards the poor and the needy, fair and equitable distribution of wealth among people, and peace among the nations of the world; but the system of interest strikes at the very root of these blessings. The closing words of the verse hint that the taking of interest is also against true belief. (close)
فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلُوۡا فَاۡذَنُوۡا بِحَرۡبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تُبۡتُمۡ فَلَکُمۡ رُءُوۡسُ اَمۡوَالِکُمۡ ۚ لَا تَظۡلِمُوۡنَ وَ لَا تُظۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۸۰﴾
فَإِن لَّمۡ تَفۡعَلُواْ فَأۡذَنُواْ بِحَرۡبٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦۖ وَإِن تُبۡتُمۡ فَلَكُمۡ رُءُوسُ أَمۡوَٰلِكُمۡ لَا تَظۡلِمُونَ وَلَا تُظۡلَمُونَ
286. Important Words:
فاذنوا (then beware of) is derived from اذن. They say اذن له i.e. he gave ear or listened to it or him; he permitted, or allowed him. أذن بالشیء means, he knew the thing; or he became informed or apprised of it. آذنه بالامر means, he made him to know the thing; or he notified or announced it to him. أذن (adhdhana) or تأذن (ta’adhdhana) means, he made known or notified or announced (Lane).
حرب (war) is from حرب. They say حربه i.e. he despoiled him of his wealth and property, leaving him without anything. حرب (hariba) means, he became greatly angry, or wrathful. الحرب means, war; hostilities (Aqrab).
رؤس اموالکم (your original sums). رؤس is the plural of رأس meaning: (1) head; (2) the upper or higher part or end of a thing; (3) chief or leader of a society. رأس الشھر means, the first day of the month. The word رأس also signifies the thing itself; as they say ھوقسم برأسه i.e. this is an independent species in itself. رأس المال means, the original sum without interest; principal; capital. The Arabs say اقرضنی عشرة برؤسھا i.e. he lent me a loan of ten pieces of money without interest (Aqrab & Lane).
The verse declares that the taking of interest is tantamount to waging war against God. It may be inferred from this that those among Muslims who lend money at interest, should be boycotted by the rest of the community. History bears testimony to the fact that such Muslim States as borrowed or lent money at interest were ruined.
It is often objected that no trade or commerce is possible without interest. This is not correct. There is no natural relation between trade and interest. The latter has become unconsciously associated with the former, as Western countries have based their commercial system on credit. If this had not been so, commerce would not have been dependent upon interest. Only a few hundred years ago, Muslims were responsible for a large part of the world’s commerce, and yet they carried it on without interest. They used to borrow money even from the poorer classes by way of partnership loans, and the commerce carried on by them thus contributed directly to the welfare of those classes. Interest is not at all essential for commerce, but as commerce is now being carried on, on the basis of interest, it appears as if without interest it would come to a standstill. No doubt, a change in the system would at first be inconvenient but the system of commerce depending upon interest can certainly be discarded.
Interest is, in fact, a leech which is fast sucking away the blood of humanity, especially of the lower and middle classes. Even the upper classes are not entirely secure against its poison, but they are deriving a false enjoyment from it like the proverbial leopard who ate away his own tongue by rubbing it against a rough stone, foolishly thinking it to be the blood and flesh of another animal. Unfortunately those who are willing to forego it are too weak to withstand the force of the current system.
The system of credit prevailing in Western countries is destructive to the peace of the world in two ways. On the one hand, it helps the accumulation of wealth in a few hands and, on the other, it facilitates war. No government can be imagined as entering upon a great war unless it relies upon its ability to raise money by means of loans carrying interest. Long and devastating wars are made possible only by the institution of interest. If huge loans on interest were not possible, many countries would refuse to enter what appeared to be a long war; and if they entered such wars at all, they would certainly hasten to withdraw from them long before they actually terminated, for their treasuries would become empty and their people would revolt in protest against the criminal waste of men and money. But the system of what appear to be easy loans makes it possible for governments to carry on ruinous struggles as they are able to obtain the sinews of war without having to resort to a system of direct taxation. The people of belligerent countries do not, at the moment, feel the burden which is laid on their backs, but after the war is over their backs are bent double under the staggering weight of national debts and future generations are kept busy reducing the weight. Take, for instance, the case of the last Great War. If huge loans had not been possible, the result of the war would still have been the same, but the devastation and the heavy indebtedness of the different countries would have been avoided. Nay, the War itself might have been avoided; and even if it had taken place, the belligerents would soon have been exhausted, peace would have been signed within a year, and the world would have proceeded on its forward march of progress. A worse fate is perhaps awaiting the Western countries at the termination of the present World War. (close)